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Guy H. Means

“In this book, James Valentine, with the eye of both a talented artist
and a perceptive naturalist, provides the reader with an insightful
look at many of the crown jewels of Florida’s state parks and public
lands. His beautiful photographic images not only capture the
essence of the natural landscapes they represent, but also, in a very
real way, pay rightful homage to the many individuals whose wisdom, foresight, and determined efforts were responsible for saving
these exceptional areas so that they might be enjoyed, over and over, for all time. The reader is sure to be
enthralled by this magnificent book, but as he turns the pages he would do well also to reflect on the critical
importance of preserving such representative samples of the “Real Florida” and be thankful for the timely
actions that left to us all this invaluable and irreplaceable “legacy of green.”
— Ney C. Landrum, Director Emeritus, Florida State Parks

“One of the builders of America’s conservation ethic was President
Theodore Roosevelt, a tough and practical man who said:
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the
wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its
melancholy and its charm.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Melbourne



Magnificent Wilderness
Torreya State Park, Bristol.

Those who have visited our natural areas know that President
Roosevelt was right; words alone can’t describe the allure and
beauty of Florida’s parks and public lands. That’s why the pictures
in this book are so meaningful.”— Senator Bob Graham

State Lands, Parks, and Natural Areas

Many years in the making, Florida
Magnificent Wilderness is a special
visual journey through some of the most
precious wild areas in the state, presenting the breathtaking beauty preserved in
state lands, parks, and natural areas.
World-famous nature photographer
James Valentine has used his camera to
record environmental art images of the
state’s remote wilderness places, spectacular sites too often missed by Florida’s
visitors and residents. Valentine also
offers his poetic interpretations of the
meaning of his images. Dr. D. Bruce
Means, founder and president of the
Coastal Plains Institute and Land
Conservancy, has written the main text,
“Florida’s Rich Biodiversity.” The book is
divided into six sections, covering the
wildlife and natural ecosystems of
Florida, with the introduction to each
written by a highly respected Florida
writer and conservationist, including Al
Burt, Manley Fuller, Steve Gatewood, D.
Bruce Means, Victoria Tschinkel, and
Bernie Yokel.

ISBN 1-56164-361-0

Photographic fine art prints and an orchestrated
DVD are also available depicting Florida Magnificent
Wilderness. Go to www.quest-foundation.org.

Pineapple Press, Inc.
Sarasota, Florida


Valentine and Means

Born in California
and raised in
Alaska, BRUCE
MEANS fell in
love with Florida
after coming in
1960 to attend college at Florida
State University.
He completed his
B.S., M.S., and
Ph.D. degrees
studying the ecology of the Florida
panhandle. He has been an adjunct professor in
the FSU Biological Science Department since
1976, and has taught courses on the ecology of
Florida since 1980, culminating in Priceless
Florida, Natural Ecosystems and Native Species,
a book he coauthored with Ellie Whitney and
Anne Rudloe. He and colleagues founded the
Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy in
1984, where he is presently president and executive director.

“The biological diversity of ecosystems contained within Florida’s
system of more than 150 parks provides a living classroom for
educators, students and other visitors to experience and gain a
greater understanding of our responsibility to the earth. The
pictures in this book convey the mood and setting of our birthright
and reaffirm our obligation to future generations.”
— Fran Mainella, Director, National Park Service

Florida Magnificent Wilderness

JAMES VALENTINE is an environmental
filmmaker, consultant, writer, poet, speaker, and
scuba diver. Valentine is president of the Quest
Foundation, which works toward nature
preservation and environmental education
through the arts and sciences. He coordinates
his photographic work with leading environmental groups and cultural organizations
throughout the world. Florida Magnificent
Wilderness, recipient of a Governor’s
Environmental Education Award, is his ninth
major book depicting Southern areas. He is
collaborating with Bruce Means on a documentary film and book to help preserve one of the
world’s last pristine wildernesses, the Guiana
Shield of South America.

Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Homosassa


David McCord

FL Mag jacket


James Valentine and D. Bruce Means
The Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, Bristol.


781561 643615

Front cover photograph location: Cape Romano, Ten Thousand
Islands Aquatic Preserve south of Marco Island

Cover photographs by James Valentine

Sacred light drifts through the emerald waters.
Circulating groundwater in the Floridan Aquifer flows onto ground surface at low points in the landscape near the coast
or larger rivers. Here the Floridan Aquifer discharges through the beautiful, sandy spring boils of Fern Hammock Springs,
also known as “The Aquarium.” Ocala National Forest.

Infinite wisdom is bound up in each particle of the universe.
The fine, powdery, white sands of the Florida panhandle came from Appalachian Mountain quartz pebbles, delivered to the
sea by continental rivers such as the Apalachicola River. Waves during storms, and even calm seas such as these, have continually ground the grains together making some of the finest powdery sand beaches in the world. Shell Island, St.
Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach.


Magnificent Wilderness

State Lands, Parks, and Natural Areas

James Valentine and D. Bruce Means
Pineapple Press, Inc.
Sarasota, Florida

This book honors the Florida Forever Program and its predecessor, Preservation 2000,
which together have formed the world’s largest conservation land buying programs. The
conservation areas pictured in this volume represent millions of acres of land that protect our
heritage of wild places and the wildlife species who live there.
The poetry in this book attempts to acknowledge that the evolving attributes of nature
and the sacred creative force that permeates all of life work together, as one, fashioning
an awe-inspiring world and universe. It is my firm belief that our very survival depends on a
healthy and ecologically balanced world. The fine art landscape images in this book were mostly
taken on large-format cameras, with special 35mm cameras used to portray wildlife.
—Jim Valentine
Main text, captions, and photographs on pages 24, 26, 28, and 87 copyright © 2006 by D. Bruce Means
Bottom photograph on page 48 and photograph on page 124 copyright © 2006 by John Moran
Poems and all other photographs copyright © 2006 by James Valentine
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Inquiries should be addressed to:
Pineapple Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 3889
Sarasota, Florida 34230
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Valentine, James.
Florida magnificent wilderness : state lands, parks, and natural areas / photographs and poetry by James Valentine ;
main text and captions by D. Bruce Means.
p. cm.
ISBN-13: 978-1-56164-361-5 (hardback : alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 1-56164-361-0 (hardback : alk. paper)
1. Florida—Pictorial works. 2. Wilderness areas—Florida—Pictorial works. 3. Public lands—Florida—Pictorial
works. 4. Parks—Florida—Pictorial works. 5. Natural areas—Florida—Pictorial works. 6. Florida—Poetry. 7.
Florida—Description and travel. I. Means, D. Bruce. II. Title.
F312.V355 2006
First Edition
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in Singapore

Previous page:
The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is one of 79 aquatic mammals called cetaceans, a group that includes whales
and porpoises. Bottlenose dolphins may grow to 12 feet long and are identified by characteristic markings on the dorsal
fin. A species of special concern in Florida, the bottlenose dolphin needs unpolluted waters to sustain a healthy existence.
They are found all around Florida in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Dolphin Research Center,
Grassy Key.

Florida Governors on Land Conservation
Bob Graham, Governor 1978–1986
“We must work today to ensure that our approach to conservation is in tune with the greater demands that
will be placed on our natural system. We must strive to meet the challenge posed by Theodore Roosevelt, who
said, “We must ask ourselves if we are leaving for future generations an environment that is as good, or better, than what we found.”
In 1979, Governor Graham established the Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) Program, and in
1981, he developed the Save Our Coast (SOC) and Save Our Rivers (SOR) programs to accomplish large-scale
conservation of land, water, and coastal resources.

Bob Martinez, Governor, 1986–1990
“It was apparent to me that Florida had a great need for additional funds to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive land and that a program to accomplish this goal did not exist. My response to this challenge
was to recommend Preservation 2000 to the Florida Legislature, a 10-year, $3 billion funding and land acquisition program.”
In 1990, Governor Bob Martinez appointed a blue-ribbon commission to evaluate Florida’s environment. The
commission conducted hearings and investigations and reported that population growth and related development posed a continuing threat to Florida’s remaining natural areas. The commission concluded in its report
that “the single most effective way to accomplish large-scale gains in our environmental well-being is to substantially increase the level of funding for the state’s land acquisition programs.” The result was for Governor
Martinez to ask the Florida Legislature to approve a new $3 billion land conservation program known as
Preservation 2000. The program protected more than 1 million acres of Florida wilderness.

Lawton Chiles, Governor, 1990–1998
“As a fourth-generation Floridian, I inherited a love for our land and a deep respect and commitment to preserving it for future generations. There was a time when we could take vast stretches of woods and wildlife
here for granted—but no longer. While we can depend on farmers, ranchers, and foresters to be good stewards of our environment, we must also place land under the state’s protection.”
Governor Chiles guaranteed that for each year, the Preservation 2000 program received full funding from the
Florida Legislature and that conservation successes were well publicized in order to help educate Floridians,
old and new, as to the importance of our natural resources. Under his stewardship, Preservation 2000 was the
country’s most ambitious and successful land conservation program, providing a model for other states and

Governor Jeb Bush, Governor 1998–2006
“Our continued commitment to conservation through the Florida Forever program will enable us to complete
the work begun a decade ago and leave a lasting plan for stewardship of our precious natural areas. I pledge
to support the implementation of this program—we can offer no greater gift for future generations.”
Under Governor Bush’s leadership, the 10-year, $3 billion Florida Forever program was created in 1999. Using
both bonded funds and cash revenues, Governor Bush has ensured full funding for the program every year.
The program expanded protection for water resources and local parks and has to date protected more than
400,000 acres of land. Monumental purchases, including 74,000 acres of the Babcock Ranch in southwest
Florida, have been made under Florida Forever, making it one of the country’s top conservation programs.

Beholding another being, a thousand eyes move in celebrated unison.

The Rainbow Springs complex is an aquatic preserve at the Rainbow River headwaters. One of the
clearest springs in Florida, it once was under development as a bustling commercial attraction, spoiling
the natural beauty of the springs. It was purchased by the state of Florida in 1992, and has been
restored to its natural state. Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon.


Embers of golden light embrace your being, a unified gift to all who listen.
Sea oats, here in one of its largest stands in the state, protects coastal dunes with its dense root system. Other plants are
smothered as sands bury the live stems, but new roots sprout from the nodes of sea oats and this coarse grass keeps growing upwards. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin.


Florida Governors on Land Conservation


Florida’s Rich Biodiversity
by D. Bruce Means


1 Springs, Caves, Aquifers, Sinkholes
Introduction by Steve Gatewood


2 Wetlands and Waterways
Streams, Rivers, Lakes, Seepage Bogs, and Wet Savannas
Introduction by Al Burt


3 Forests
Temperate Forests and Tropical Hardwood Hammocks
Introduction by Victoria J. Tschinkel


4 Uplands
Scrub, Dry Palmetto Prairies, Sandhills, Flatwoods, and Prairies
Introduction by D. Bruce Means


5 Coastal
Beaches, Dunes, Coastal Strand, Salt- and Freshwater Marshes,
Mangroves, Estuaries, Underwater, and Marine Offshore
Introduction by Bernie Yokel


6 Wildlife
Introduction by Manley Fuller




The divine magical carpeting of Nature intoxicates the soul.
Tossed up on the beach by a heavy surf, clams, scallops, sand dollars, coquinas, and seaweed carpet the remote shores of
some beach wilderness areas in the Florida panhandle. Such a profusion of life reflects a healthy and thriving offshore estuarine habitat. Little St. George Island, Franklin County.


Forgotten in time is the secret of wilderness.
Beautiful islands towards the setting sun beyond Key West form a remote federal wilderness of mangrove forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, tidal marshes, coastal strands, and non-tidal wash flats. Offshore coral reefs, white sandy sea beds,
and seagrass flats combine in Florida’s semitropical paradise. Key West National Wildlife Refuge, Boca Grande Key.


The nature of change is the flow of the universe.


Schooling Atlantic blue tangs (Acanthurus coeruleus) swim among sea fans and soft corals, grazing on
algae, their main food. Juveniles are bright yellow, but stay hidden in holes and crevices during the day.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo.


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